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Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, March 07, 2008

On the Brink of a Symbolic Bobby Kennedy Assignation

This has been a BAD past week for me. I am appalled by Hillary's tactics and will now NEVER vote for her. Andrew Sullivan says it best.
What I think this misses are the cultural and social consequences of beating Obama (or McCain) this way. I don't mean beating Obama because the Clintons' message is more persuasive, or because the Clintons' healthcare plan is better, or because she has a better approach to Iraq. I mean: beating him by a barrage of petty attacks, by impugning his clear ability to be commander-in-chief, by toying with questions about his Muslim past, by subtle invocation of the race card, by intermittent reliance on gender identity politics, by taking faux offense to keep the news cycle busy ("shame on you, Barack Obama!") and so on. If the Clintons beat Obama this way, I have a simple prediction. It will mean a mass flight from the process. It will alter the political consciousness of an entire generation of young voters - against any positive interaction with the political process for the foreseeable future. I'm not sure that Washington yet understands the risk the Clintons are taking with their own party and the future of American politics.

The reason so many people have re-engaged with politics this year is because many sense their country is in a desperate state and because only one candidate has articulated a vision and a politics big enough to address it without dividing the country down the middle again. For the first time in decades, a candidate has emerged who seems able to address the country's and the world's needs with a message that does not rely on Clintonian parsing or Rovian sleaze. For the first time since the 1960s, we have a potential president able to transcend the victim-mongering identity politics so skillfully used by the Clintons. If this promise is eclipsed because the old political system conspires to strangle it at birth, the reaction from the new influx of voters will be severe. The Clintons will all but guarantee they will lose a hefty amount of it in the fall, as they richly deserve to. Some will gravitate to McCain; others will be so disillusioned they will withdraw from politics for another generation. If the Clintons grind up and kill the most promising young leader since Kennedy, and if they do it not on the strength of their arguments, but by the kind of politics we have seen them deploy, the backlash will be deep and severe and long. As it should be.

He has a million little donors. He has brought many, many Republicans and Independents to the brink of re-thinking their relationship with the Democratic party. And he has won the majority of primaries and caucuses and has a majority of the delegates and popular vote. This has been a staggering achievement - one that has already made campaign history. If the Clintons, after having already enjoyed presidential power for eight long years, destroy this movement in order to preserve their own grip on privilege and influence in Democratic circles, it will be more than old-fashioned politics. It will be a generational moment - as formative as 1968. Killing it will be remembered for a very, very long time. And everyone will remember who did it - and why.


I feel like we are about to symbolically repeat the assignation of Robert Kennedy and watch Hillary destroy the party for decades to come.

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